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As a beginner, how hard would these two songs be? #2919655 12/04/19 11:11 AM
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SteelyDanFan Offline OP
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Hey all. I've played guitar for 9 years, self-taught (I know, that probably isn't a good thing). I've always wished to play the piano, and starting this next semester, I'll begin taking lessons at my local CC. Super excited. There are two songs I'd love to learn in particular at the start (or just at some point), and my question about them basically is, how hard would they be to learn? Are they too difficult for me to try to tackle?

First up, 'Rikki Don't Lose That Number' by Steely Dan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tvRSFAVAqU

Next, 'Honey Please' by Dan Wilson (of Semisonic fame): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wl698JUtDks Skip to 1:38, he talks a bit at first.

I am re-teaching myself to read music, and am building up knowledge of theory, if that stuff matters.

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Re: As a beginner, how hard would these two songs be? [Re: SteelyDanFan] #2919855 12/04/19 06:53 PM
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indigo_dave Offline
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Here's a how to play video for Rikki Don't....



Last edited by indigo_dave; 12/04/19 06:55 PM.
Re: As a beginner, how hard would these two songs be? [Re: SteelyDanFan] #2920851 12/08/19 04:17 AM
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Simon_b Offline
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Hi

Reading music and understanding theory will certainly help you, particularly with Steely Dan, as quite a lot of their songs use elements of Jazz harmony. I'm not familiar with Dan Wilson but listening to some of that it doesn't sound as complex as Steely Dan.

The bottom line is if you are a complete beginner on the keyboard, either will be difficult, more so Steely Dan's songs.

But it's good to have something you want to aim for, even if it takes you a few years to get there.

Cheers


Simon
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Play what you enjoy listening to, listen to what you enjoy playing!




Re: As a beginner, how hard would these two songs be? [Re: SteelyDanFan] #2921408 12/09/19 07:04 PM
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I did a short video of myself doing "In The Midnight Hour". The left hand plays a role similar to a bass guitar player. The right hand is doing something akin to Steve Cropper at Stax doing his rhythm guitar chops. And of course the voice.

It seems to me that this mode of playing takes advantage of the piano as a sort of drum. In a sense. A drum with chord changes.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1qTGikQOnAB0IRpnO-QiQlN_nVF9nJNRQ

Re: As a beginner, how hard would these two songs be? [Re: SteelyDanFan] #2921675 12/10/19 06:02 PM
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dogperson Offline
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Dave
How nice of you to do this for the OP ... hope he comes back


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It’s ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: As a beginner, how hard would these two songs be? [Re: SteelyDanFan] #2923171 12/15/19 02:24 PM
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SteelyDanFan Offline OP
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Wow.. thanks guys!! For someone who knows nothing about Piano, but is starting lessons soon (at 22 years of age, a bit late, I know, haha) your answers are a TREMENDOUS help. I figured that the songs would be beyond a complete beginner, thanks for confirming that. IndigoDave, thanks for doing that video, the piano's versatility is one of the things that has always amazed, and intimidated, me about it. Especially as a guitar player. Seriously, thank you guys so much!!

Was away for a bit, been very busy of late. Plan to be around here lots more, though!

Re: As a beginner, how hard would these two songs be? [Re: SteelyDanFan] #2923198 12/15/19 03:57 PM
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dogperson Offline
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Originally Posted by SteelyDanFan
Wow.. thanks guys!! For someone who knows nothing about Piano, but is starting lessons soon (at 22 years of age, a bit late, I know, haha) your answers are a TREMENDOUS help. I figured that the songs would be beyond a complete beginner, thanks for confirming that. IndigoDave, thanks for doing that video, the piano's versatility is one of the things that has always amazed, and intimidated, me about it. Especially as a guitar player. Seriously, thank you guys so much!!

Was away for a bit, been very busy of late. Plan to be around here lots more, though!


Hi SteelyDanFan
Actually, at 22, you are not starting piano too late 😊 there are others around here with no musical experience that start piano in their 50s and 60s. Be sure your teacher understands your musical goals, what types of music you want to learn, how much you can practice. Commit to yourself that you will take it one day at a time, not compare yourself to others and never miss a lesson because you don’t feel prepared . Check out the Adult Beginner Forum here, for useful threads and quarterly recitals.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It’s ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: As a beginner, how hard would these two songs be? [Re: SteelyDanFan] #2923335 12/16/19 12:28 AM
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Jeff Clef Offline
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Steely Dan gets my vote: they are one of a kind and no mistake. I like "Ricky Don't Lose That Number" quite well, and it has certainly held up over time. Haunting; ambiguous; glamorously hopeless. But at heart, I am more of a "Haitian Divorce" fan. Straight-ahead snide lyric as only Steely Dan can, and actually quite singable.

No hesitation


Clef

Re: As a beginner, how hard would these two songs be? [Re: SteelyDanFan] #2923394 12/16/19 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by SteelyDanFan
Hey all. I've played guitar for 9 years, self-taught (I know, that probably isn't a good thing). I've always wished to play the piano, and starting this next semester, I'll begin taking lessons at my local CC. Super excited. There are two songs I'd love to learn in particular at the start (or just at some point), and my question about them basically is, how hard would they be to learn? Are they too difficult for me to try to tackle?

I am re-teaching myself to read music, and am building up knowledge of theory, if that stuff matters.


SteelyDanFan, I agree with dogperson that it's not too late if you're wanting to play some Steely Dan styled bluesey piano. The guitar may have a cross-training value depending on how far you traveled on your guitar journey.

If you don't know about things like root movement and chord inversions, you will hopefully learn them as they have practical value in playing songs such as "Rikki Don't". I would recommend listening to some Creedence Clearwater Revival hits from the 1970's and trying to platy them by ear. The chord progressions are simple and the bass player is usually playing the root of the chord. In other words I'm talking about using and working your mind's ear to hear the harmonic movement.

Good luck on your journey.

Re: As a beginner, how hard would these two songs be? [Re: SteelyDanFan] #2924118 12/17/19 10:54 PM
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SteelyDanFan Offline OP
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Thanks AGAIN for all your helpful answers guys!! LOVE the positivity of helpfulness of you all, feels so nice.

I plan on getting a piano a bit before I start lessons.. would it be unwise to go ahead and try doing small exercises (scales, very easy songs, with painstaking attention to proper technique) in the week or two before I go to start lessons?

Re: As a beginner, how hard would these two songs be? [Re: SteelyDanFan] #2924143 12/18/19 01:39 AM
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Hi SteelyDan
Of course you can work on things without lessons. In terms of scales, don’t go for speed; listen to how you play them. Work on evenness of sound with every note. Become comfortable with the keyboard and where the notes on the pages are found on the keyboard. Pay attention to how you sit

You might want to watch some good tutorials
I would recommend Dr Mortensen for one
https://m.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL753730BB176690A0

Josh wright
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ELzNxY0qy20


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It’s ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: As a beginner, how hard would these two songs be? [Re: dogperson] #2924456 12/18/19 05:38 PM
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SteelyDanFan Offline OP
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Hi SteelyDan
Of course you can work on things without lessons. In terms of scales, don’t go for speed; listen to how you play them. Work on evenness of sound with every note. Become comfortable with the keyboard and where the notes on the pages are found on the keyboard. Pay attention to how you sit

You might want to watch some good tutorials
I would recommend Dr Mortensen for one
https://m.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL753730BB176690A0

Josh wright
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ELzNxY0qy20





dogperson, thanks for that! I was (am still, a bit) scared of doing things with improper technique, hurting my hands, etc etc. People always talk about bad technique can really mess you up, and that in itself, is a bit intimidating.

Re: As a beginner, how hard would these two songs be? [Re: SteelyDanFan] #2924891 12/19/19 09:37 PM
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JazzPianoOnline Offline
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I would suggest learning your basic triads: major, minor, augmented, diminished, suspended (and also the 5 essential 7th chords: major 7, dom 7, min 7, min 7b5 dim 7 but these are less used in pop music) and then learning to play from a lead sheet.

playing pop music from two hand grand staff notation is not fun or particularly fulfilling. you will be free knowing all your chords and you will be able to play anything you hear.

keep at it!


Bill
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